Thu, Nov 18, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Taiwan may sell 770m TSMC shares

BLOOMBERG

The government may sell as many as 770 million shares in Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) next year as part of it's plans to pare its budget deficit and reduce record national debt.

The Development Fund, which owns a 7.4 percent stake in the chipmaker, earlier announced plans to sell 130 million shares next year.

Lai Ching-chyi (賴清棋), the fund's executive secretary, said yesterday that it may sell an additional 640 million shares in TSMC.

"Under the regulations, the fund can cancel or roll over to next year all or part of 640 million Taiwan Semiconductor shares which have been budgeted on this year's sales list," Lai said in a phone interview.

The government is selling assets to help plug the budget deficit, which is forecast to reach a record NT$304 billion (US$9.3 billion) this year.

It also needs money to pay interest on record national debt of more than NT$3 trillion.

No decision has been made on whether the fund will roll over or cancel the 640 million shares, Lai said.

"We will have a meeting and a discussion with the company before making any decision by the end of the year," he said.

Shares of TSMC rose 2.7 percent yesterday to NT$49.70.

The shares have declined 10.7 percent this year compared with a 2.3 percent gain in the benchmark TAIEX.

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